Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman (after thanking St. Paul, MN and congratulating the Stanley Cup Champions): With the 18th pick in 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks are proud to select, from the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, Center, Mark Scheifele.
Central Scouting ranking: 16th for North American skaters
International Scouting Service ranking: 18th overall
Scheifele, in his OHL rookie season, posted 75 points (22 goals and 53 assists) in 66 games. His 13 power play goals were good enough to place him in the league's top 20. Now go ahead and throw out his -22 rating. Just get rid of it. The Barrie Colts were the worst team in the entire OHL and Scheifele found himself lining-up across from the opposition's top checking forwards on a nightly basis.
The 6'2'', 182 lb pivot proved his ability to contribute in big games. In April, while playing in the U-18 World Championship, Scheifele notched 6 goals, 2 assists, and a +1 rating in 7 games. The Kitchener, Ontario native's 8 points led all Canadian forwards.
Recent Chicago Blackhawks 1st Round Picks
- 2006 - C, Jonathan Toews (3rd overall)
- 2007 - RW, Patrick Kane (1st overall)
- 2008 - LW, Kyle Beach (11th overall)
- 2009 - D, Dylan Olsen (28th overall)
- 2010 - RW, Kevin Hayes (24th overall)
The Blackhawks have seen highs and lows the past two decades. A perennial playoff teams until the late 90s, the franchise became the NHL's doormat for 10 years. Great drafting provided the team with All-stars, leading to a Stanley Cup Championship. (Ironically, the two best prospects currently in the system were drafted by other teams, Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin). Anyway, due to salary cap issues and a bonehead GM, nearly half the players had their one day with the Stanley Cup while on another team's roster.
Stan Bowman's organizational depth at defense is quite strong and more than stable. Accomplished blue-liners Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell are under contract until the 2016-2017 season, and Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith is signed to a DiPietro contract. (Keith actually earns his money). Three of the Blackhawks top prospects are defensemen (Leddy, Olsen, and Shawn Lalonde), so that's a position that can be addressed later in the draft.
It's apparent that the system is in dire need of help up-front. Bowman very well could be in the market for a 2nd line center as soon as the season ends, echoing the need for a strong prospect up front. At the same time, Chicago's AHL affiliate (the Rockford
Peaches Icehogs) is struggling big time offensively.
Taking a chance on a sizable two-way center with point-producing upside, like Scheifele, certainly cannot hurt worse than say, a GM failing to properly extend qualifying offers to pending RFAs. Fortunately for Islanders fans, said GM moved to Florida and so graciously placed Michael Grabner on waivers. Thanks Dale!
Having fun with the real 2011 NHL Entry Draft: The Isles and Hawks are NOT due for a draft weekend trade this year. In 2008, Garth Snow traded Chicago pick 68 (Lalonde) in exchange for picks 72 (Jyri Niemi) and 102 (David Ullstrom). All was quiet in 2009; however, in 2010, a late 1st round trade enabled E from Entourage to draft Brock Nelson.